2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders: CATALYTIC

The 150thKentucky Derby (G1) is Saturday, May 4, at Churchill Downs, offering a record $5 million purse. The field is limited to 20 starters based on Derby qualifying points from dozens of prep races. 



Like a few other Kentucky Derby contenders, Catalytic came through with one big prep race (runner-up in the Florida Derby) to earn a spot in the Run for the Roses.

Now, with just three starts on his resume, the bay colt gives trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., a chance to believe:

“The key is to get there,’’ he said, “and once you get there, anything can happen in the Derby.”

He knows as well as anybody.

A year ago, his Wood Memorial winner Lord Miles – at 59-1 odds! — was scratched from the Derby and Joseph suspended by Churchill Downs after two of his horses died during races leading up to the Derby. The trainer was reinstated on June 30 with no further action taken.

What will happen this time remains to be seen, but after Catalytic worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.72 at Gulfstream Park on Friday (April 19), Joseph is on his way to Louisville for another shot.

“Everything went all right,’’ Joseph said of the work.


After a debut win at Gulfstream in October, and a second-place finish in an optional claimer on March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs, he stepped up to the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

So what if he lost by 13 ½ lengths to Fierceness? He collected 50 Derby qualifying points to finish 15th on the leaderboard. He also finished ahead of Derby prospects Grand Mo the First, Conquest Warrior, and Hades in the race.

He joins the likes of Santa Anita Derby winner Stronghold, UAE Derby winner Forever Young, Wood winner Resilience as well as Blue Grass runner-up Just a Touch and Wood runner-up Society Man who clinched their Derby spots in a final prep race.

2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders Odds and Post Position: Catalytic

Betting advice: Tough to convert us to wager on this longshot.

Post position: 5

Odds: 30/1

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Owners: Tami Bobo, Julie Davies and George Isaacs

Career record: 3-1-2-0

Career earnings: $216,825

Most recent race: Florida Derby, March 30, (2nd)

Top Equibase speed figure: 90

Pedigree: Catalina Cruiser-One Show Only, by Distorted Humor

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notes: Skippylongstocking, Joseph’s top-earning horse, won the Oaklawn Park Handicap on April 20, boosting his career earnings to more than $2.3 million. The 5-year-old was purchased for $37,000 as a 2-year-old … Catalytic would be the third Derby runner for Joseph: Ny Traffic was eighth in 2020; White Abarrio  was 16th in 2022 … Catalytic was purchased for $125,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale … After his debut, Joseph said Catalytic “got sick, and he missed some time. We had to back off. He got sidetracked. He got behind schedule. We got a race into him at Tampa. I thought everything went wrong and he still ran well.”

Posted on